1760-1767 The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy
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First Edition, Leather Binding, Signed
Laurence Sterne has signed volumes V, VII and IX as called for to fight against piracy of this incredibly popular work.
Volumes I and II are early imprints with no printer's information. They were issued together, and are recorded in the ESTC under the reference number N67243. Volumes III and IV are first editions, with the ESTC reference no T14705. Volumes V and VI are first editions, with the dedication to vol V signed Laur. Sterne. With the ESTC reference no T14706. Volumes VII and VIII are first editions, with the 'G' in Gentleman being a capital. ESTC reference no T14820. Volume IX is a first edition with the ESTC reference no T14824.
Sterne's work is a humorous and philosophical investigation into the connection between literature and life. A fictional autobiography, this work is also an experiment in the form and structure of printed narratives. It is a unique literary form that is not easily categorised. Sterne played an important part in the rise of the novel, alongside contemporaries Daniel Defoe and Samuel Richardson.
This first edition set demonstrates innovative use of printing techniques. With the black mourning page to volume I, page 73. There is the hand-marbled leaf to volume III at page 169 as called for which is a 'motley emblem' of Tristram's work. To volume IV the pagination skips ten pages due to Tristram stating he has 'torn out' a chapter. The signatures are continuous.
With a frontispiece to volume III displaying Tristram's baptism with the name most hated by his father. As this frontispiece refers to an event in volume IV it is often found in that volume.
Volume III has the press variants of III-1a according to Monkman: 'Woula ciad';' me." '; 'aud'. Volume IV catchword is ' Tis"'. Volume IV is a first edition as the spelling of 'fancy' to page 73 is 'facy'.
Bookplate to the front pastedown of volumes I, II, III, IV, V, VI with the motto 'En Dieu Est Tout' and the monogram 'WD'. Prior owner's inscription to the recto of front endpaper to volumes VII-IX, 'Andrew Nash Oct 1841'.
With half-title to volumes IV, V, VI ,IX.
Volume I is dated 1760, Volume II is dated 1760, Volume III is dated 1761 and bears the imprint 'R and J Dodsley', Volume IV is dated 1761 with the imprint 'R and J Dodsley', Volume V is dated 1762 with the imprint T Becket and P A Dehondt, Volume VI is dated 1762 with the imprint T Becket and P.A Dehondt. Volumes VII is dated 1765 with the imprint T Becket and P A Dehont. Volume VIII is dated 1765 with the imprint T Becket and P A Dehont. Volume IX is dated 1767 with the imprint T Becket and P A Dehont.
Handwritten correction to page 109 of volume VII.
, A-L8, M2; A-L8, M3 ;A-M8, N4; , B-O8, P2; , B-K8, L3; , B-K8, L6; B-L8; A-K8, L6; A2, B-K8, pp
Volumes I-VI are in uniform tree calf bindings, with volumes VII-IX in near uniform full calf bindings. All works are in contemporary bindings. Externally, volumes I-VI are very smart. Volumes VII-IX are sound. Splits to the joints of volumes VII-IX with the hinges strained. Front board to volume VIII is detached but present. Front hinge to volume IX is weak and the board may detach unless carefully handled. Lacking top spine label to volume VIII. Internally, all volumes are firmly bound. Prior owner's inscriptions to the margin of page 13. Pages are bright. Occasional light spots to pages. Small mark to page 25 of volume V.
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